Georgia Secretary of State Says Biden Likely to Maintain Lead After Recount
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Wednesday he doesn’t expect the state’s hand recount of presidential votes will reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s lead there.
“I don’t believe at the end of the day it will change the total results,” Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican, said on CNN. Asked if he thinks Mr. Biden will be declared the winner in Georgia, he said, “I believe that’s the way it will turn out.”
The secretary of state’s office plans to release the audit results around noon Thursday, said Gabriel Sterling, voting-system implementation manager at the secretary of state’s office.
Georgia counties hustled to meet a deadline Wednesday to finish manually retallying five million votes cast in the presidential race. President Trump and his supporters have disparaged the recount process and Mr. Raffensperger, who is overseeing it.
Mr. Biden’s lead over Mr. Trump dipped to 12,781 votes, as some counties identified votes not previously tallied in the results, Mr. Sterling said during a video news conference. Before the audit, Mr. Biden was leading by a little more than 14,000 votes.
Election officials are under a tight schedule. The state told counties to complete their hand review, which officially began Friday, by midnight Wednesday. Mr. Raffensperger is required to certify the Nov. 3 election results by Friday.
So far, 112 counties out of the state’s 159 counties reported deviations in the single digits or fewer from their initial vote counts, including 58 counties that found zero changes, Mr. Sterling said.
Nearly 4.97 million ballots out of five million have been manually reviewed so far, Mr. Sterling said. Larger counties still needed to complete final checks.
Mr. Raffensperger, who began isolating last week after his wife tested positive for Covid-19, has clashed with Mr. Trump and his supporters, who have alleged widespread irregularities. “The Georgia recount is a joke,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet Wednesday.
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, both of whom are facing Jan. 5 runoffs that will determine control of the U.S. Senate, called for Mr. Raffensperger’s resignation last week.
共和党参议员大卫·珀杜(David Perdue)和佐治亚州参议员凯利·勒弗勒(Kelly Loeffler)上周要求雷芬斯伯格辞职。两人都将在1月5日进行决选，决选结果将决定美国参议院的控制权。
Mr. Raffensperger has defended the election process as secure and transparent.
“I understand that we live in polarized times, that half the people are going to be happy with these results and half the people are going to be sad,” he said on The Journal podcast Tuesday. “My job as secretary of state is to have 100% of people have confidence in the accuracy of the vote.”
The Associated Press hasn’t called the race because it said the tight margin means it could be subject to a post-certification recount under Georgia rules.
The audit caught some errors, which election officials attributed to human mistakes. That included Republican-leaning Fayette County, where 2,755 votes on a memory card initially hadn’t been uploaded, the secretary of state’s office said. The batch included 1,577 votes for Mr. Trump and 1,128 for Mr. Biden.
GOP stronghold Floyd County identified about 2,600 votes that initially weren’t counted, the secretary of state’s office said, which provided a net increase of 778 votes for Mr. Trump.
Democratic-leaning Douglas County found a memory card with previously untallied votes, which contained 156 votes for Mr. Biden, 128 for Mr. Trump, seven for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen, and ballots from two voters who didn’t vote for president, Mr. Sterling said.
In Walton County, which heavily favored Mr. Trump, election workers discovered roughly 280 votes which hadn’t been uploaded from a memory card, Mr. Sterling said. The batch provided a net increase of 176 votes for Mr. Trump, he said.
There still could be a post-certification recount. Under Georgia law, after an election is certified, a candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory was less than 0.5%. If campaigns request a recount after certification, under Georgia rules such a recount wouldn’t be by hand, but instead would be a re-scanning of ballots through machines.
A recount in Georgia must be requested within two business days of certification, which would be by Tuesday, if results are certified Friday.
There is little time before the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs. Counties must mail absentee ballots to military and overseas voters for the Jan. 5 runoffs by Saturday, according to federal law.